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Building A Better Business Case For Global Payroll

Peter Durant
Peter Durant
Jan 26, 2023 4 mins

Global payroll can transform a business’s ability to function on a global scale. But transitioning to a global payroll system takes time and effort. Before a company can make the switch, it will have to build a strong business case for global payroll. A business case is a document that outlines the benefits, costs, and risks associated with a particular project or investment. It is used to persuade key stakeholders, such as senior management or the board of directors, to invest in the project or investment.

Although there is no single set of criteria for a good business case, you can follow a three-step process to produce one:

  1. Identify and define key problems
  2. Analyze costs and risks
  3. Recommend a specific solution

In this guide, we will take a close look at building a business case for worldwide payroll operations.

Identifying Key Problems

Payroll operations can solve a number of problems that companies with employees in multiple countries may face. Some examples include:

  • Taxes: A global payroll system can help to ensure that employees withhold the correct amount of taxes in each country where they work.
  • Regulations: A global payroll system can help to ensure compliance with local payroll data regulations in each country where the company operates.
  • Pay disparities: A global payroll system can help to ensure that employees are paid fairly, regardless of factors such as race or gender.
  • Flexible payment: A global payroll system can allow for flexible payment options, such as direct deposit or pay cards, which can be convenient for employees in different countries.
  • Payment accuracy: A global payroll system can help to reduce the risk of errors in payroll calculations and payments.
  • Scattered technology: A global payroll system can provide a single platform for payroll processes, rather than relying on multiple systems in different locations.
  • Reduced risk: A global payroll system can help to reduce the risk of errors and penalties due to non-compliance with local regulations.

Businesses choose to pursue a global payroll solution for any and all of the above.


Once you have identified the key problems you wish to solve with global payroll, you should define them clearly to make your business case. Set goals for solving them. To that end, one good strategy is to ensure that the goals of a global payroll system are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Examples of potential objectives could include reducing payroll errors, increasing compliance with local regulations, improving employee satisfaction with payroll processes, or reducing the time spent on payroll processes.

Analyzing Costs And Benefits

This is where a business case succeeds or fails. In order to convince leaders that a global payroll solution is worth it, you perform a rigorous cost-benefit analysis to prove that there will be a substantial return on investment.

It helps to consider both the tangible and intangible costs and benefits of global payroll transformation.


Tangible Costs

Tangible costs are specific, known, and measurable. They may include the cost of purchasing and implementing the system, training employees, and ongoing maintenance and support. Although it is impossible to predict final costs exactly, you can at least come up with an educated estimate.

Intangible Costs

Intangible costs are general, unknown, or unmeasurable. They include factors like the opportunity cost of not implementing a global payroll system, such as lost time and productivity. They also include second-order impacts of the system that you cannot predict.

Included in the costs are the likelihood and impact of potential risks. All projects come with a certain amount of risk, although global payroll is not a particularly risky business. One possible risk is that the implementation of the system could take longer than expected, leading to delays and increased costs.

Benefits can also be tangible or intangible. The tangible benefits of global payroll are many, and are listed above. The intangible benefits of a unified global payroll solution are unpredictable, and could include positive developments such as improved company morale.

A thorough cost-benefit analysis will complete with a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) report. This document will contain all estimations of future costs and benefits, along with their predicted dollar-value cost.

Recommending A Solution

Based on the analysis of the costs, benefits, and risks, the next step is to recommend a solution. This could include a specific payroll process, as well as a plan for implementation and ongoing maintenance. An executive summary of the business case can be helpful in summarizing the key points and making the case for the chosen solution.

A thorough solution will have several features, such as:

  • Executive Summary
  • TCO report
  • Budget and timeline
  • Deployment strategy


Executive Summary

The Executive Summary provides an overview of the project and explains the reasons for the global payroll transformation. It is the outcome of the first step: identifying and defining key problems.

TCO Report

The TCO Report comprises the entire cost-benefit analysis for the project, including possible risks. It is the outcome of the second step: analyzing costs and benefits.

Budget and Timeline

The Budget and Timeline gives a schedule for transitioning. It should be made with the company’s financial situation in mind, as well as the urgency of the transition

Deployment Strategy

The Deployment Strategy includes all the information about how exactly the new system will be deployed globally. This could include plans for how long to keep using the old system, as well as in what order to move companies onto the new system.

Conclusion: A Business Case Is A Sound Investment

Not all business cases succeed in convincing higher-ups to change course. Often the timing is not right, or the funds aren’t available, or the people making the decisions simply lack the right vision.

A global payroll solution, however, is such a sound investment for so many businesses, that building a business case is almost always a good idea. Immedis provides massive benefits to our clients, and the cost savings quickly become reality. And even if it does not turn out to be right for your business at present, there is a good chance it will be in a few years if you keep growing.

Remember, then, that payroll technology is at the heart of your entire operations. Payslips are the main reason why most of your employees show up and deliver day after day. And as business becomes more global and interconnected, the case will be easier to make that a single, global payroll provider can positively transform your business.